Story by Leah Misch
Photos by Jack McIntryre and Leah Misch
History of the Race
The Inaugural Sons of Speed race held Saturday, March 18 at New Smyrna Speedway was an epic mark in history for Daytona Bike Week. That was when Billy Lane brought back board track racing; a style of racing in which daring souls laid everything—even their lives—on the line.
Imagine the pure adrenaline of racers in the early 1900’s riding motorized cycles needing a push start to begin the downward descent on an angled wooden race track. If this isn’t thrilling enough many bikes of this time leaked fluid on the track while riding on thin slick tires. Oh, and if that didn’t seem daring enough; don’t forget these motorcycles did not have brakes!
In 1912, Eddie Hasha crashed while board track racing, killing himself and 5 others, while injuring 10 spectators. This gave the board tracks the nickname ‘The Murder Drome.
The sons of speed race emblem on Billy’s bike
Prep for the Race
In preparation for Daytona’s Sons of Speed race builders worked tirelessly to have the pre-1925 motorcycles running. A practice ride left many racers making final adjustments to their motorcycle into the early morning hours of race day.
Along with the excitement of bringing back the ‘Murder Drome’, safety needed to be addressed. A well thought out safety plan was reviewed with drivers before the race. A red towel tied to a flag pole was used as a makeshift Red Flag to warn racers of hazards on the track. Xavier Muriel, who is not just the drummer for rock band Buck Cherry but also a motorcycle enthusiast said, “I’m not here to push the limits on winning, I still need two hands to drum afterwards.” No injuries occurred on the asphalt track on race day.
The Race Highlights
Brotherly love graced the track when Billy Lane, the master mind of the Sons of Speed, raced alongside his brother Warren Lane.
Billy commented with a beaming smile, saying the best part of the long-anticipated race was, “RIDING!”
Racers reached speeds of 60 to 70 miles per hour on their bikes. “Moonshiner” Josh Owens gained great speed during the practice round and scampered to a stop. The crowd roared as he safely stood on both feet.
One nail-biting heat saw Buzz Kanter passing Billy Lane to take the lead in a neck-in-neck competition that ended with grins of excitement. “Being out there is a whole new level of racing,” he said.
In a post-race interview, Xavier Muriel who was initially hesitant of going full throttle stated, “Now I need to go home and sell 10 drum sets so I can pay for the work Billy needs to do to my next bike I’m going to race!”
How did the race end? Shelly Rossmeyer finished third on a 1915 Harley. Matt Harris finished 2nd on a 1924 Harley. And Brittany Olsen of 20th Century Racing took home the champion title—as the Daughter of Speed—on a 1923 Harley. Spectator John Marcella commented, “My vote was on Brittany the whole time; she has nerves of steel!”
Stay tuned for more excitement being brought back with board track racing from Iron Trader News! Enjoy the images below from Race Day!
Enjoy the photos below by Jack McIntyre.